The goal of the Applied Battery Research for Transportation (ABR) Program is to help expedite the commercialization of extended range plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) through the development of advanced high-energy materials and electrochemical cell couples for advanced lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. In order to achieve a 40-mile all-electric-range (AER) in a PHEV, the battery system needs to possess a beginning-of-life specific energy of ~200 Wh/kg to meet the mass restrictions established by DOE and the USABC. This specific energy target is beyond the capability of existing Li-ion battery chemistries and the ABR Program seeks to identify and develop advanced cell chemistries that can meet this target.
The program is comprised of an R&D effort to develop promising advanced materials and cell couples. The cell couples are required to pass independent screening tests prior to being selected for an internal cell build. Commercial grade cells are then fabricated using the selected cell couple materials and these cells are evaluated using standardized test procedures to characterize their performance and to age them under accelerated conditions. New and aged cells undergo diagnostic evaluations to obtain insight into their life-limiting mechanisms. Feedback from the diagnostic studies is used to refine the materials and cell chemistries.
Three unique facilities are available to support the program, for both the internal and contracted R&D efforts. Should a new material only be available in lab-scale quantities, a new material scale-up facility, denoted the Materials Engineering Research Facility (MERF), can be used to scale the material in sufficient quantity for both the screening and the cell fabrication activities. The Cell Fabrication Facility (CFF) is available to produce either multi-electrode stacked pouch cells or 18650 cylindrical cells. Also, a new post-test analysis facility, denoted the Post-Test Facility (PTF), is available for use in identifying potential life-limiting mechanisms.
The ABR Program was initiated in 2009 and is currently funded at $12 million per year. Funding for the ABR Program is provided by the Vehicle Technology Program within DOE-EERE. Contributing organizations to the core R&D program include: Argonne National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NAVSE Carderock, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories.